Study Identifies Risk Factors for Serious Knee Replacement Infection

A study has identified the most important risk factors for developing severe infection following knee replacement surgery.

The research, which was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, involved analysis of more than 679,000 primary knee replacements, of which nearly 3,700 were revised for an indication of prosthetic joint infection. Researchers from the Musculoskeletal Research Unit at the University of Bristol determined that the following were the notable risk factors:

  • patients under 60 years of age;

  • males;

  • those with a pre-existing history of chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, liver disease, connective tissue or rheumatic disease, or peripheral vascular disease; and

  • those with a higher body mass index.

The researchers conclude, "Some of these factors are modifiable, and the use of targeted interventions or strategies could lead to a reduced risk of revision for prosthetic joint infection. Non-modifiable factors and the time-specific nature of the effects we have observed will allow clinicians to appropriately counsel patients preoperatively and tailor follow-up regimens."